Despite Obama Promise, Many Coloradans Losing Their Health Insurance Plans

September 20, 2013
Many Coloradans have received notifications from their health insurance companies that their current policies will be discontinued

Many Coloradans have received notice that their current policies will be discontinued because of Obamacare

DENVER – Four years after Democratic Party leaders promised a skeptical public that passage of Obamacare wouldn’t interfere with their existing health care coverage, a very different reality is taking shape — as thousands of Coloradans receive notices from their insurance providers that they will not be able to extend their current health care plans.

“Changes from health care reform (also called the Affordable Care Act) continue to take effect in 2014,” a September 10 letter from Anthem BlueCross BlueShield to one policyholder begins. “To meet the requirements of the new laws, your current plan can no longer be continued.”

“We would like to notify you that your current policy will be discontinued or not renewed…on December 31, 2013, because Humana will no longer offer your current health plan in the State of Colorado,” read a similar letter sent by that company to many of its policyholders earlier this month.

The “drop letters” stand in stark contrast to the assurances provided by President Obama during the height of the health care battle.

“For those who have insurance now, nothing will change under the Obama plan — except that you will pay less,” read a 2008 Obama campaign “white paper” — a pledge reiterated by the President just a few months later during the push to gain public support for the controversial plan.

“We will keep this promise to the American people,” said Obama in 2009. “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away.”

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat and Obamacare supporter, voiced similar sentiments at the time.

“[I]f you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it. If you have your doctor, and you like him or her, you should be able to keep them, as well,” Bennet said in a 2009 floor speech. “We will not take that choice away from you.”

Colorado’s other Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall, who faces re-election in 2014, echoed the same talking point during a 2009 interview.

“If you have an insurance policy you like, doctor or medical facility that provides medical services to you, you’ll be able to keep that doctor or that insurance policy,” said Udall.

But the “drop letters” sent out by companies like Anthem and Humana as implementation of the president’s health care law gets underway seem to run counter to those commitments – as many Coloradans are pushed out of their current insurance plans and into more expensive, Obamacare-approved plans they may not need or want.

One of those Coloradans was U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma.

“Last month, my wife, Jaime, and I received notice that our health care plan would be discontinued Dec. 31,” Gardner wrote in a recent op-ed.  “To comply with the myriad new regulations, requirements and mandates of the president’s health care law, my family must find a new health care plan.”

Gardner noted that his monthly premium will more than double as a result of the new policies – “from roughly $650 a month to $1,480 per month.”

“Choosing a health care plan is a difficult and time-consuming process,” Gardner added.  “Those who have been happy with their current health care plans are now being forced to find new plans and must navigate the maze of new regulations in doing so.”

Gardner isn’t alone.  Thousands of notices like the one his family received have gone out in Colorado, according to a Humana spokesperson.

“Last month, Humana sent letters to approximately 8,800 individually-insured policy holders in Colorado whose plans are not considered ‘grandfathered’ under the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” Humana’s Western Region Spokesperson Marina Renneke told TCO in an e-mail.  “The letters outlined two Humana plan options for 2014 and encouraged recipients to learn more about the health care reform law.”

“Humana is currently working with the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) to ensure that our communications are as clear and consumer friendly as possible.” Renneke added.  “With the DOI’s approval, we plan to send revised letters to the same group of members to further clarify their options.”

But recent studies suggest that those options may be more expensive.

“For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits,” read a recent analysis conducted by National Journal.

According to a recent report in The Hill newspaper outlining the findings of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, young and healthy Coloradans will see a considerable spike in health care costs as a result of Obamacare.

The “drop letters” will likely intensify an already tense political tug-of-war over funding for the controversial health care law, which remains a key sticking point in budget negotiations between President Obama and lawmakers.

Anthem BlueCross BlueShield did not respond to requests for comment.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

31 Responses to Despite Obama Promise, Many Coloradans Losing Their Health Insurance Plans

  1. Bob Terry
    September 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Y a can keep your PLAN as Obama and the Feds say you’ll keep your plan .. If this Obamacare crap is SO GOOD for us all…Hmmm The House Senate and their staff are exempt …Why if so great Obama doesn’t Champion up and as Hey Uhh well mmm Michele ‘n me are doing this plan …LOL because it sucks its a boondoggle. Now Trumpka and the AFL-CIO say hey this is a bad thing for our membership …Okay Obamacare advocate..either we all 100% of the US have it…or scrap this piece o crap …period …God help us on why we vote for people like this …Dianna Jared Polis Mark Udall…Mr Bennett the rest of you Liberal democrats gonna dive in? Silence …yeah right this needs to go to MAJOR FILE 13

    • Dick Riachrds
      October 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm

      The House, Senate, and the President are all provided with tax payer funded, Canadian style universal health care plans, why would they ever give those up?

  2. PeterP
    September 20, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Coloradoans should vote in hordes to punish all Dems for subjecting us to this heinous law. Of course all of the non citizens, homeless and college kids will still vote for them. We need the adults in the room to get up and throw the bums out. I hope everyone will support the congress in their quest to defund this assault on our health and liberty. Let your reps know that this law will not stand.

    • Bob Terry
      September 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      As information I got on Mark Udall’s website and asked how he is voting and how he likes his plan the president gave them..while we suffer with this I also quoted him and Obama on how we’ll keep our insurance and our doctor’s, which clearly isn’t the case.. I’ll bet I get either a prewritten rambling or most likely no reply at all..

      I’ll keep everyone posted

      • Bob Terry
        September 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm

        This is the e-mail / letter I sent to Udall and he and the President are quoted.

        Senator Udall;

        Can you explain this as this whole Obamacare unravels and all false information is now rearing its ugly head.
        Even the AFL-CIO is back door dealing for exemptions. The House and Senate, You and your staff are all exempt
        with a PLAN WE PAY FOR..But Obamacare is good for us the unwashed.
        Let me remind you of what YOU sir and the President said:

        That is the exact opposite of what national political leaders, from President Barack Obama to
        U.S. Senator Mark Udall and then-Congresswoman Betsy Markey, told the American people during
        the Obamacare debate. They said, verbatim, that people would be able to keep their insurance plans if they want:

        “We will keep this promise to the American people,” said Obama in 2009. “If you like your health care plan,
        you can keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away.”

        “If you have an insurance policy you like, doctor or medical facility that provides medical services to you,
        you’ll be able to keep that doctor or that insurance policy,” said Udall [in 2009].

        “If you like what (insurance coverage) you have you should be able to keep it,” said Markey.

        What TCO has uncovered is that, no, you cannot keep your plan if you want. Even Republican Congressman
        Cory Gardner had his family’s insurance plan dropped. (Gardner has chosen to forgo government insurance and
        buy his own for his family).

        According to the Observer story, Gardner is far from alone. He is joined by thousands of fellow Coloradans who
        are being dropped by their insurance companies:

        “Last month, Humana sent letters to approximately 8,800 individually-insured policy holders in Colorado whose plans
        are not considered ‘grandfathered’ under the Affordable Care Act (ACA),
        ” Humana’s Western Region Spokesperson Marina Renneke told TCO in an e-mail.
        “The letters outlined two Humana plan options for 2014 and encouraged recipients to learn more about the
        health care reform law.”

        Blue Cross Blue Shield hasn’t confirmed how many drop letters they sent to Colorado policy holders.

        Comment on this please AND NO FORM LETTER REPLY

        Thank you..

    • MaryL
      October 22, 2013 at 7:30 am

      With the end of 2013 will also come the end of 22 years of CoverColorado (killed by the ACA). It was a great program that would have served as an excellent model for health insurance reform. Really sad. Now I will pay $200 more each month for less coverage and $500 higher deductible (total $2,500 deductible) and higher out of pocket expense limit. Thank you Democrats and your “leader” for this gift. Not.

    • Marcey
      October 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

      I wish someone would post all the places a person can send correspondences
      about not wanting Obamacare…

  3. Gordon Ferris
    September 21, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I’m on Medicare. This year I have a Medicare Advantage Plan that is no cost to me. Next year Aetna is charging $38 per month for the plan. That’s a 446% increase. The cost of co-pay is going up $10-$25 per visit. I know Aetna is a private company but their increase is brought on by Obummer care.

    • PeterP
      September 21, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Aetna Health Insurance and other private health coverage plans are the targets of Obummer Care. The laws are designed to destroy private sector plans and force us all like cattle into the pens of government controlled collectives.

      • Steven Silz-Carson
        September 24, 2013 at 12:12 am

        Actually you are both wrong. First of all, Mr. Ferris, I don’t know how you calculate that $38 = 446% of zero, as any percentage increase of over zero is “undefined.” And Mr. Radetsky, it’s also not 100% either; an increase of 100% would mean doubling the original sum, say from $1 to $2, or $500 to $1,000. Our schools must be worse than I thought:) All that aside, the more people that actually buy insurance, as required by the Affordable Health Act, serves to ultimately lower the individual overall cost as if you are presently insured, a big chunk of your premium and co-pays are grossly inflated to cover the irresponsible folks who don’t bother buying insurance. Same principle drives up your cast of car insurance, because when an uninsured motorist caused bodily and/or property damage, someone still pays for it. “Someone” meaning you and I.

        • sam
          September 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

          Maybe you should do some math as well. The affordable care act was BARLEY going to work if EVERYBODY was involved. To date, there are over 700 companies exempt from Obamacare totaling over 2 million workers already exempt from Obamacare – before it has even started. Today, more delays in implementation… It is a joke.

        • Anthony James
          September 27, 2013 at 9:48 am

          While you’re correct about the math, Steven, I can’t agree that a reduction in cost is or can be based on “everyone” participating. This was the same “logic” used in Michigan to pass No-Fault Insurance for motor vehicles. The fact is, the cost of premiums never went down, but they did steadily increase. And so now, even with everyone paying into the “system” in Michigan, the cost has only risen. To suggest that this same thinking will somehow work for Obamacare is hardly likely. As others have already pointed out, there are millions already “divested” of this healthcare, and in keeping with that observation, how would the inclusion of millions of legal/illegal persons currently unable to afford health insurance somehow “add up” to a reduction across the board? It sounds like your wishful thinking is much like that of those who passed this insanity in the first place!

    • Dave Radetsky
      September 22, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      No Gordon, it’s a 100% increase. If you’re paying nothing and then you pay something, whatever you end up paying is 100% more than what you were paying.

      Nonetheless, it’s ridiculous that you should have to go through that. I hope America’s seniors remember this when it comes time to vote.

  4. Jan Edwards
    September 23, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Here is a copy of the letter I sent to Senators Udall & Bennet:

    Dear Honorable Senators Mark Udall & Michael Bennet,

    We are asking for your YES vote on the upcoming Continuing Resolution that defunds the Affordable Care Act

    My wife, Patty, and I have followed the development of the Act since it was proposed, voted upon and approved with no Republican support and without the actual reading of the bill by most of your legislators because of the rush to vote! I am appalled at the lies that have been told by our president and most Democrats in order to not disclose the truth about the impact on our economy! The fact that you and your staff will be subsidized by 75% of the cost of your insurance instead of being enrolled in one of the exchanges making full payment is indicative of your dishonesty about the impact of this travesty. Of major concern to us is the fact that our private medical information will be in danger of being accessed by non-professional, untrained and non-security cleared Navigators and others!

    If you are truthful to yourself, you must realize this is a train wreck according to one of your associates. It has already had much impact on the changing of business hiring practices to less than 30 hours per week of work; providing part-time workers rather than the needed full time employees. The number of Democrat associated businesses and unions receiving special consideration by getting exemptions must be a concern to you about the problems associated with the ACA. If it does not, then you are not representing your constituency! If you would look at the polling data you would recognize the people who elected you are against this legislation! Do not tell us this is good for America: this will bankrupt our country.

    Please vote to approve the Continuing Resolution to DEFUND the Affordable Care Act and fund the rest of the budget and urge your colleagues to do the same!

    Very truly yours,

  5. Nancy
    September 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Humana sent us a letter. we can keep our existing “non-compliant” plan or we can convert it to a compliant plan for 3 times the monthly premium. We have to sign an amendment stating which plan we want otherwise our policy will be cancelled on Dec 31st. So, what happens if we sign an amendment stating we want the non-compliant plan because $1120/month is not affordable, are we reported to the government so they can fine us for not complying with the Affordable Care Act?

  6. js_biggs
    November 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    It warms my heart to see so many Democrats losing their health insurance.

  7. Jacob Chacko
    March 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    This has been nothing but a disaster. I couldn’t get the website to not kick me off it. (Or at least save my settings) before it went down. They finally fixed the sites, then I was denied Medicaid (despite my income being only 21k) because my grandmother lives with me. Apparently her income counts on my Medicaid AGI – bullocks. Then I finally get a plan in February, pay it off in the middle of the month, and here we are march 10 and they haven’t sent me new ID cards. They have sent me 6 bills requesting my premium payment though.

    I was much better off under Cover Colorado.


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